Autistics and Pronoun Choice

In some autistics yet to develop the fullest speech skills, and perhaps maximum confidence, we might hear either:

1. Reference to Self in the Third Person

- speaking from a perspective that requires he/she/it/they pronouns or one's actual name or chosen nouns

- in autistics it is most often a self-deprecatory ('self-depreciating') manner of speech 

- in some academic writing, use of the first person is discouraged, and writers are advised to instead refer to themselves in the third person (for instance, as “the researcher”)

- it can be called Illeism, and is often a rhetorical device used by wiley politicians to try to give their words an air of objectivity

- in ancient times, philosophers might encourage students to use Third person to make them think more deliberately and wisely

- e.g. "Graeme is at Disney World" and "He will go on the roller-coaster"

- e.g. many adults also might address their children such: "Graeme, is that what Mommy asked you to get?"

2. Reference to Self by way of Pronominal Reversal

- a variety of ways to avoid using standard pronouns to refer to oneself

- seen often as a late and advanced derivation from echolalia

- referring to themselves as they have heard others speak of them, resulting in a misapplication of pronouns

- e.g. ‘You want some more milk’ meaning ‘I want some more milk’

Some autistics may be speaking what you wish to hear from your perspective, and be putting their perspective, shyly, in second place. So build general speech confidence, and specifically confidence in stating their very own perspective. It is progressively liberating.

Some autistic may be dispassionately viewing what is happening from a 'reporters' perspective, objectively, not subjectively - from their own individual experience. So encourage moderate usage of sentences beginning "I" for a corrective period, and affirm these as best. It is progressively liberating also.